By now, the question has been asked so many times that it is hard to stifle an eye roll: Why can’t the Public Sector be more like the private sector in the implementation and use of technology?
Enormous, complex, global enterprises use procurement technology to manage their spend, suppliers, contracts and bids every day without seeming to run into the same stumbling blocks as the Public Sector, which operates on a smaller and more localized basis.
The answer to the question posed above is that the Public Sector’s stakeholders – the general public and/or their constituents – have a different ‘right to service’ expectation than distributed buyers or budget owners in a corporation. Jurisdictions and agencies have unique needs that must be met by the technology they implement.
A corporation can force standardization on a component or service provider in a way that a town, state or school district would never dream of. This is the driver of differentiation between the Public Sector and Private Sector when it comes to implementing, using – and, most importantly, generating the intended ROI – from technology.
An example of what often happens is that a state that wants to streamline and standardize their procurement processes and technology. They can determine and document their general requirements. 80% of what the solution providers can do is likely to work for all of the user groups, but there is always 10 or 20% that won’t work because it just doesn’t make sense given their workflows.
The state might be able to get 12 of their 17 districts into compliance with one general work path, but perhaps the remaining districts are so rural, or have staffing levels so low, that they need to manage a piece of the workflow differently. In many cases, this forces those districts to customize the technology.
There is no reason to force anyone – whether Public or Private Sector – to customize a platform today. Configuration is a far more logical and sustainable approach. It costs significantly less and puts control in the hands of the people who understand their specific needs best. Configuration can make it possible to alter the number of approvals required, for instance, or to enable a unique workflow.
In too many cases, a system is implemented and then it either doesn’t work as it was expected to or it isn’t used as widely as was anticipated. This prevents the jurisdiction from getting the ROI associated with their decision to implement, let alone to realize the process and data efficiencies they were counting on.
It is even difficult to craft an RFP under these challenging circumstances. Jurisdictions are promised the stars in terms of functionality – with a footnote that says, “But it’s going to cost you…” So, the selection is made, and the implementation begins based on a set of general assumptions. But all interested parties must stay engaged throughout the process to make sure that the unique needs of all stakeholders are met. The State of California has even taken it one step further; they run proof of concept pilots to ensure that each platform works for them in practice, not just in theory.
Your challenges are unique. Your requirements are unique. Are your solutions unique?
Why Ivalua for Public Sector?
Ivalua for Public Sector was purpose built to address the unique issues facing the Public Sector entities. Our Public Sector solution will grow with you, configure to your specific needs, and most importantly meet your ever-changing demands. Our Public Portal provides public access to solicitation, awarded contracts, analytics, and details of the end-to-end bid management process to provide greater visibility, context, and supplier inclusion for active and planned solicitations. Ivalua provides you with an adaptive source-to-pay platform configured to your specific needs, unlocking innovation through enhanced flexibility and transparency. This is what Ivalua for Public Sector can do for you.
If you would like to speak to the Public Sector team please get in touch to arrange a demo
Senior Product Marketing Manager
Jarrod McAdoo brings over 22 years of procurement experience across multiple industries, including higher education, retail, manufacturing, and engineered products. During this time, Jarrod held various roles in category and supplier management including the management of strategic sourcing and procurement teams as well as leading teams in implementing shared service procurement models and source to pay systems. Jarrod holds a Masters in Business Administration from Duquesne University and a Bachelor’s degree from Carnegie Mellon University.